nightmayer

Jottings from a pop culture junkie

NEW YORK, NY; March 24, 2022—Shaina Taub’s passion and earnestness are brilliantly exhilarating and exhausting in the musical Suffs at the Public Theater, continuously from the opening number straight through the following 2-3/4 hours. A sung-through musical about the suffrage movement and passage of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote, Taub is …

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Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster’s names spill off the marquee at the Winter Garden Theatre; you have to be across the street to see the half-block-long billboard above the marquee that announces the show Jackman and Foster are in. However, the real star of this incredibly happy-making production of “The Music Man” is The Ensemble. …

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BROOKLYN, NY; March 6, 2020—Riva is probably right — she usually is: No one would dare cough or sneeze in a theater right now. You’d be stared down and tsk-tsk’ed right up the coronavirus-disinfected aisle. But it’s a tense, respectful, hold-in-your-stomach quiet we’ve experienced in theaters the last few weeks, the kind of quiet that …

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Until recently at the Metropolitan Opera, my all-time favorite performance of Porgy and Bess was in 1971 at an outdoor theater on Lake Constance in Bregenz, Austria. No doubt the setting had something to do with it: When the residents of Catfish Row headed by boat to Kittiwah Island, they did in fact get on …

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Broadway Theater; January 6, 2020 (preview performance; opens February 20)—I’m curious whether a younger video-based generation (assuming they’re interested in West Side Story) will embrace this production. The often brilliant director Ivo Van Hove uses live and recorded video projections, as he often does, and mini-sets from which some of the video is broadcast, to …

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NEW YORK, NY; AUGUST 5, 2019—Let me say right off the bat (duh; that would pass for quality dialog here) the theatrical spectacle Bat Out of Hell was worth every penny (I paid under $50 a seat). I haven’t heard this much laughter at City Center since I saw Richard Pryor there in 1978. Listen, …

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We are in for a bracing year of serious-minded theater in New York City if the first two offerings of the 2017-2018 season at the Signature and Atlantic theater companies are any indication. The searing Fucking A, by Suzan-Lori Parks at the Signature, one of two “riffs” by Parks on The Scarlet Letter, dates to …

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Marie & Rosetta is a stirring and often rousing musical biography of the life of gospel popularizer (and rock and roll predecessor) Sister Rosetta Tharpe. The work focuses on Tharpe’s relationship with her protégé Marie Knight, who Tharpe pulled from Mahalia Jackson’s backup choir and with whom she performed for three years. Kecia Lewis and …

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